There are two organizations on campus especially designed to represent the environment to their peers, EcoReps and Green Reps. EcoReps are undergraduate students that represent the environment to their peers, and Green Reps are employees that represent the environment to their colleagues.
Undergraduate students are surrounded by EcoReps starting their first year here at the University. EcoReps are divided into two groups by class, First-Year EcoReps and Upper-Class EcoReps. Conventionally, about 30 First-Year EcoReps are spread out amongst the First-Year residential halls to ensure that every first-year understands the importance of sustainability and all its aspects.
First-Year EcoReps attend a 2-credit class that meets for one hour twice per week. In this class they are taught about the many aspects of sustainability and about the many things to consider when trying to accomplish sustainability, including many of the challenges. This establishes a great community filled with people who are passionate about the same thing but may have different interests. With the knowledge they learn from class, they create EcoBoards, hold events, and are a part of larger committee projects to spread knowledge about sustainability and its importance. This also allows them to create connections with their peers and especially their hallmates.
Upper-Class Ecoreps attend a 1-credit class that meets for one hour once per week. They have often been first-year EcoReps, but it is not a requirement. Their class also focuses on the many aspects of sustainability and about the many things to consider when trying to accomplish sustainability. However, they are less based in their residential halls and more as advisors and guides for First-Year EcoReps. They also hold their own events and attend many of the committee meetings.
The EcoReps mission statement is, “By giving the EcoReps the skills and knowledge needed to promote environmentally responsible behavior in freshmen residence halls, our program strives to create an environmentally literate student population.”, and it truly reflects the goal of EcoReps, although it is more aimed towards the entire undergraduate population rather than just the first-years.
Any employee at the University can become a Green Rep. They function as advocates for sustainability, liaisons between peers and administration, and teachers to their peers. Green Reps receive monthly newsletters called The Compost containing information about sustainability, tips for their workspaces, and more. Comparing this to EcoReps, The Compost functions as the class that grants the Green Reps the tools to teach, advocate and communicate well for sustainability. Additionally, they hold quarterly events to bring together employees around the topic of sustainability.
Becoming an EcoRep or a Green Reps is a good way to care about sustainability and do something about it, while building a great community and spreading awareness around the topic. Both programs are always welcoming of new members and would love to see the community grow.
Written by Zein Tynon, Class of 2024